"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The Underground Church Coming to America Soon

Over 200 law enforcement officers in dozens of police vehicles blocked entrances to the parking lot of GraceLife Church in Edmonton, Canada, on Wednesday morning, April 7, 2021, building a fence around the building. The congregation has met normally since summer 2020, despite requirements that church gatherings limit capacity, require masks, and practice social distancing.

Over the last eleven months, the Canadian provincial health department conducted 18 inspections and fined the church dozens of times for their refusal to comply with various government orders, including limited seating and no singing. Pastor James Coates was arrested and spent a month in jail. He steadfastly refused to sign a document stating he would obey the government's compulsory health regulations.

The church has issued a statement giving its rationale for disobeying the government:
"We are gravely concerned that COVID-19 is being used to fundamentally alter society and strip us all of our civil liberties. By the time the so-called “pandemic” is over, if it is ever permitted to be over, Albertans will be utterly reliant on government, instead of free, prosperous, and independent. As such, we believe love for our neighbor demands that we exercise our civil liberties... Many Albertans are afraid and are convinced of the efficacy of government lockdowns for two reasons: misinformation and fearmongering. The media has so pounded the COVID-19 drum since the “pandemic” began, almost exclusively emphasizing caseload and deaths, that people are fearful. So fearful, in fact, they have been convinced that yielding up their civil liberties to the government is in their best interests. It is difficult to have not lost confidence in the mainstream media. It would seem as though journalism is on life-support in our province. The media should be made up of the most thorough, discerning, and investigative people in our society. Instead, many of them seem to be serving an ideological agenda. Now more than ever, it is vital that Albertans exercise discernment when listening to the mainstream media.

What do we believe people should do? We believe they should responsibly return to their lives. Churches should open, businesses should open, families and friends should come together around meals, and people should begin to exercise their civil liberties again. Otherwise, we may not get them back. In fact, some say we are on the cusp of reaching the point of no return. Protect the vulnerable, exercise reasonable precautions, but begin to live your lives again."

Regardless of one's agreement with the position of the church, every single Christian should be concerned over the heavy-handedness of the Canadian government. 

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which represents GraceLife and its pastor James Coates, said the move to barricade private church property prevents citizens from “exercising their Charter freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, and worship.”

If Americans don't sit up and pay attention to what is happening to our neighbors to the north, we may end up finding ourselves worshiping in the underground church in the United States sooner than we could ever imagine.

The video below is last Sunday's message from Pastor Coates. He preached in an undisclosed location and streamed it LIVE with 'faces in the congregation blurred out' to keep them from being identified by the state police. 

This is happening in Canada. Hard...for...me...to...believe.

Baylor Wins and I Remember Coach Dave Bliss

Guest Speaker: Dave Bliss – Fall To Grace from Emmanuel Enid on Vimeo.

Last night, the Baylor Bears won the NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship.

Rachelle and I met when we were students at Baylor University, just before the fall semester on Friday, August 21, 1981, on a blind date in the cafeteria of Collins Hall

One of my ancestors, Rufus C. Burleson (1823-1901), was the first President of Baylor University and he moved Baylor from Independence, Texas, to Waco, Texas. Rufus also baptized General Sam Houston, the man after whom the city of Houston (Tx) is named,  in the "living waters" of Little Rocky Creek near Independence Baptist Church where Rufus served as pastor. 

I can tell you all kinds of stories about Baylor - anecdotal, personal, and ancestral. 

But after the Baylor Bears won the national championship last night, my thoughts were directed toward the Coach of the Baylor Bears just prior to their superb current coach, Scott Drew

That coach's name is David Bliss

David made all kinds of mistakes at Baylor University. He was fired because of his moral transgressions, including lying, covering up facts about the murder of one of his players, and a host of other unethical behaviors. 

David Bliss's name is not spoken with admiration by most.

But I consider Coach Bliss a friend. He's spoken at Emmanuel Enid (see above video). Rachelle and I had a private lunch with him at our favorite Mexican restaurant, and we sensed humility and grace from a man ridiculed by all who don't know him.

Dave is the real deal. 

David Bliss has written a book called Fall to Grace. It's an excellent biography of how sin breaks us, but God's grace delivers us. 

SHOWTIME has a documentary on the Baylor basketball scandal during Dave Bliss's tenure as coach. The documentary is called DISGRACED.  

Dave's book is called FALL TO GRACE

Someone left a Review on David's book that said:
 "Anyone who watches the Showtime documentary, "Disgraced," would know what an odious and contemptible liar Dave Bliss is. And it wasn't just "one mistake." Google the man and you will see that lies and dishonesty follow him wherever he goes. He is a repulsive individual who, I'm sure, is lying and trying to pull the wool over someone's eyes as we speak, including anyone stupid enough to buy this book. Dave Bliss is an abomination."

I propose that until you understand failure, you'll never comprehend grace. Until you are DISGRACED, you'll never FALL TO GRACE.

Succeeding on the court of basketball or the court of public opinion is not the end-all. 

Discovering God's grace in Jesus Christ is. A.W. Tozer once said.

"The man who is elated by success and is cast down by failure is still a carnal man. At best his fruit will have a worm in it."

Last night I thought of former Coach Dave Bliss because God has taken the worm out of Dave's apple. 

God's grace has a way of putting success and failure into perspective. 

Buck vs. Bell, Forced Vaccinations, and Social Hell

Henning Jacobson
I have a close friend with whom I work out every morning. He's a medical doctor, Ph.D. research scientist, and a fellow at the National Institutes of Health. He and Dr. Faucci are friends and co-workers. My friend has had his vaccination for Covid-19, has convinced me that the new RNA vaccinations are safe, and has been the reason I encourage all my senior adult friends to get a vaccination. 

I will not be vaccinated for Covid-19.

And my refusal has nothing to do with fear, safety, or concerns over my physical well-being (or yours). I've had Covid-19 twice, have developed natural immunity, will probably have it again (as will you), and will do my part to wash my hands, keep my distance from you when symptomatically sick, and will respect your decision to vaccinate. I am not anti-vaccination.

But I am against forcible vaccinations, mandated by the government, with punishments for those who refuse. 

Allow me to tell you why I am convicted to say "No!" to government-mandated vaccinations. 

In 1902, a Swedish American pastor named Henning Jacobson refused to get the smallpox vaccine and he also refused to pay the $5.00 fine (equivalent to $100 today). 

He was charged with a crime and his case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court where the Jacobson v. Massachusetts decision became a landmark case. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the government stating that the government could mandate vaccination because "the collective good sometimes outweighs individual rights."

So far, so good.

Carrie Buck and Her Mother
However, nearly two decades later, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling in Buck vs. Bell that declared the government has the right and ability to forcibly sterilize women for the public good. 

Buck v. Bell revolved around a woman named Carrie Buck. Born in 1906, one year after the Supreme Court ruled on the Henning Jacobson vaccination case, Carrie Buck was just 3 years old when her mom, Emma Buck, was institutionalized for being “feeble-minded” and “sexually promiscuous.”

Carrie's dad was absent, so child welfare government officials put Carrie in foster care with a family called Dobbs. Carrie stayed with the Dobbs for 14 years until, one day, she learned that she was pregnant. Carrie told welfare workers that the Dobbses’ nephew had raped her. 

But the Dodd's family argued that Carrie was mentally unstable, just like her birth mother, and so the Dobbs put Carrie in an institution—the same one where her mom was.

Carrie's baby, named Vivian, was born in 1924.

In the year that baby Vivian was born, the state of Virginia passed a law that allowed the government to forcibly sterilize people who were "afflicted with hereditary forms of insanity that are recurrent.”

The Virginia institution that housed Carrie and Emma Buck chose Carrie as the first woman to be forcibly sterilized by the government. Carrie sued to protect herself. The Buck vs. Bell case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Oliver Wendell Holmes
Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
 ruled in favor of the government's forcible sterilization of women by famously saying: 
“Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

The ONLY case cited in the majority opinion of Buck vs. Bell was the ruling against Pastor Henning Jaccobson's liberty to refuse vaccination in Jacobson v. Massachusetts

Give the government an inch of your physical liberty and the government may take a eugenics mile of your life. Ask the Jews who lived in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s or the Muslims who live in China today. 

I freely support your decision to be vaccinated and encourage all my friends to do so. But please don't judge or condemn me for refusing to be vaccinated. 

My reason is not fear, nor a lack of scientific knowledge, nor a belief that vaccinations are evil.

I am refusing a Covid-19 vaccination in honor of a young lady named Carrie Buck who was raped and then forced by the government to be sterilized for the public good. I'll determine for myself what the "public good" actually is, and in my view, the liberty of individuals to stand against government mandates is better than acquiescence.

Once you hand to the government control of your body,  you place the government in the position of God. Everyone should feel free to choose a vaccination because it is an individual choice for one's own health. But we must safeguard our freedom and liberty to dissent against government forces.

Government isn't God, and nobody should trust its powers, its purpose, or its provisions. A limited state keeps our liberty safe.

I respect your right to vaccinate. Please respect my right to refuse. 

It's for the public good. 

I'm a Numbers Guy and 02.02.2022 Is My Number

Istoria's Ministry Headquarters, Enid, Oklahoma
Several weeks ago I announced my intention to retire as Lead Pastor of Emmanuel Enid on February 2, 2022 (next year).

I believe in God's sovereignty and providence so much that I intentionally use the phrase "intention to retire." The LORD could call me home in death before I reach the retirement date. Nuclear war with Korea, a pulse bomb from China, or a societal collapse in the United States may shut the doors of the 501(c)-3 called Emmanuel Enid before I retire in February 2022.

My wife will tell you, "Wade is absolutely the most positive person you will ever meet." In fact, I confess, I am "over-the-top" positive. I have very strong feelings about what is coming for our country (a collapse), but in my mind, it is the "best thing that could ever happen to the United States." 

There is something about national poverty, international wars, and societal desolation that drives people to trust God and not the government. A revival of faith in YHWH occurred in Assyria (Ninevah) during the 9th century B.C. through the collapse of Assyrian culture and the prophetic preaching of Jonah. A revival dawned on the people of Judah in 701 B.C. after the collapse of Judean wealth in the face of national calamity accompanied by the preaching of Isaiah. A revival enlivened God's people in Babylon when they found a renewed faith in YHWH while they served Nebuchadnezzar and the mighty Babylonians as their slaves for 70 years (586 B.C. - 516 B.C.). 

Bad things happen to good people in order that bad people might trust a good God and become His people.

Let's never waste our national sorrows. Bad things are coming for the United States of America, but I've never been more excited to be alive than I am right now in 2021.  I am stepping down next year from "pastoral ministry" in the institutional church so that I might concentrate on cultural and societal ministry in a collapsing nation. 

Wade and Rachelle Burleson
The people of Emmanuel Enid called me to be their "Lead Servant (Pastor)" on Sunday, 02.02.1992. They have elected a stellar Pastor Search Committee that intends to have a new Lead Pastor at Emmanuel Enid by 02.02.2022. Thirty years is a long time to serve a church, but any success we've had at Emmanuel Enid is due to the people of Emmanuel. Last Sunday's Enid News and Eagle article expressed well my feelings for the people of Emmanuel Enid. They are like family to Rachelle and me, and Emmanuel Enid will continue to be our church home. 

My ministry will continue beyond 2022. In 2012, Rachelle and I and a group of friends founded a non-profit called Istoria Ministries. Istoria is a Greek word that means "inquiry" and it is the root word from which we get our English word "history." I believe we must inquire into our historical and biblical past for potent answers to the problems we face today. Rachelle and I are spending the next several months working on the new website, the new building, and the new path the LORD has placed before us. 

After 02.02.2022, I will shift focus. My primary goal will be to write books and to produce weekly video/audio podcasts. Rachelle and I will also continue to periodically teach and upload to the Internet special series on marriage, family, and the Scriptures. My intention is to spotlight issues that are typically never addressed through an institutional church.  I will clearly and transparently address the cultural, moral, and social pitfalls we face as Christians in the United States of America. Of course, one might say that addressing those issues is "the role of the pastor," but in my experience, today's culture dismisses pastors as "irrelevant." 

The message of the church of Jesus Christ is foundational to our society, but our society has fundamentally turned away from the church of Jesus Christ.  Istoria will have a broader social media platform that will allow me to be "unchained" so to speak. That is probably an uncomfortable thought to some who already think I am "unchained." To be candid, I've held back. After 02.02.2022, there will be no "holding back." 

Rachelle and I have purchased a building on the historic U.S. Highway 81 that runs through the heart of Enid, Oklahoma. U.S. Highway 81 is the route of the First Secret Mission of the Civil War, and the old historic Chisholm Trail, which actually should be called Black Beaver's Trail. It is called Van Buren Street in Enid, in honor of United States President Martin Van Buren. The building's address is 801 S. Van Buren. Our friend Darrel Bundy has stepped up big time in coordinating all the remodeling. Brad Classen (KC Electric), David Lawrence and Jason Tyman (Dense Mechanical), Chad Forbeck (E-Towne Properties), Kenny Walker (friend and carpenter deluxe), Clint Watkins (Design), Kyle and Carol Williams (Istoria board members), and a host of other friends have been invaluable encouragement to Rachelle and me in helping us get this project underway.

This is a huge step of faith for Rachelle and me. We are going from "two salaries" to just one (Rachelle's). However, playing it safe solves nothing. We sense God's call and we have said "Yes!" to His purpose for our lives as we live out the last quarter of our lives on this earth. 

All the people of Emmanuel (and Enid) know of my decision, but this little post is to make readers of my blog aware of the changes that will be coming on 02.02.2022.